ExtraFood Responds to the Crisis: Sharing Abundance in Marin
November 19, 2020
I hope you and yours are well. In the ninth month of this crisis, all of us at ExtraFood.org continue to be inspired by a Marin community that is working together to serve people in need.
This is an extraordinary time for all of us; the virus is creating challenges that most of us have never faced. It is testing our resilience, it is testing our judgment, and it is testing ExtraFood’s capacity to adapt our work to so many new realities of living in these times.
For ExtraFood, everything starts with the needs of people in our community – 1 in 5 in ordinary times – who worry about where their next meal will come from. Right now, with the virus, there’s far more need and far more worry. The climate crisis feels more present than ever, with so many fires, power outages, and never-before-seen weather events, all of which feel so much harder to deal with in the presence of the virus, and all of which affect the most vulnerable among us most of all. And in our community, we do see racism, both acute and systemic. We see the virus affecting people of color disproportionately in part because of racist policies and systems that have made these members of our community more vulnerable and less supported by our systems of care.
But with your crucial support, and in spite of the virus, together we are making a difference at ExtraFood with all three of these problems.
First, the need. Every single day of the year ExtraFood serves hundreds of people because of your support. With your help, we’re giving more than 80,000 freshly-made meals to people struggling with hunger. And as we use the excess capacity of restaurants and caterers to make those meals, you’re helping to keep those businesses afloat and food-service workers employed. And further, our county-wide food recovery program continues to rescue and deliver excess fresh food from businesses throughout the county – 725,000 pounds of food during the pandemic.
Next, the climate crisis. The international research project Drawdown ranked the top 100 solutions to global warming; reducing food waste is #1. Our food recovery work is showing that reducing food waste is the easiest thing we all can do at work and at home to make the quickest impact on climate change. The GHG emissions that you’ve helped us prevent by keeping fresh food from being tossed in the landfill this year – they’re equivalent to preventing the emissions from 1.7 million driving miles.
It is lesser-known, I believe, that your support is making a difference as we work with many people and organizations to dismantle structural racism in our community. Our deliveries are increasing equitable access to healthy, fresh food. The new food distribution programs we’ve started, like the drive-through programs we’ve started during the pandemic, reach people unserved by the safety net and deprived of equitable access to fresh food. And our volunteers and staff are a day-to-day bridge between ExtraFood and partners of color throughout Marin, building mutual understanding and connection by working together toward a common goal. The repair in any community so often comes two people at a time.
All of us in the ExtraFood family are connected by a simple yet powerful approach to building and strengthening our community: Sharing abundance. So that all can thrive.
So that all can thrive. Earlier this year I learned a South African word: Ubuntu. It means, “I am because we are.” There is vulnerability in that interdependence – and I feel that more than ever now – but that vulnerability is also our strength. Together, we will get through this.
With my deepest gratitude,
Founder and Executive Director, ExtraFood.org